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Newsletter: From Evidence to Action

South Africa: Council looks to ICT to improve education

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) will push for the stronger use of ICT to radically transform basic education.

"We have come to the determination within the sector that ICT [information and communication technology] is crucial to improve the quality and efficiency of the system from a number of aspects, including administration, e-learning and teacher training," she said.

Addressing the media in Pretoria after a CEM meeting, Minister Motshekga said issues of connectivity will be looked into to realise the vision for 21st century schools. The Basic Education Department used the council meeting to present a progress report on a revised Maths, Science and Technology (MST) strategy, which sets out clear targets for increasing the uptake of Maths by learners.

Minister Motshekga said the MST office is now fully operational and the department is working on ways to better utilise its resources to benefit MST education. Minister Motshekga said the department is busy developing norms and standards, business processes and sector plans for grade specific curriculum management and support.

"This is to ensure that all the deliverables are executed in an efficient manner within the given timeframes that ensure accountability at all levels of the sector."

The Minister said they would also continue to cultivate a reading culture in learners to improve literacy skills such and reading and writing proficiency. She said her department is developing reading and writing norms and standards that will provide guidelines on the quantity of writing to be done per grade and what is expected in terms of reading ability.

"A plan is also being developed to improve library services in schools, with a specific focus on the Eastern Cape and Limpopo due to the lack of existing services in those provinces," the Minister said.Plans are underway to ensure that every child has a textbook in every subject per grade. The department has also started a process of profiling all teachers within the system.

According to the Minister, 75% of teachers have been profiled in terms of their professional information, subjects taught and subjects qualified to teach, among other information not currently available on PERSAL.

Funza Lushaka graduate allocations for provinces and districts for 2015 have also been sent to provinces for placement. The Funza Lushaka Bursary Programme is a multi-year programme that promotes teaching in public schools.

South Africa: Council looks to ICT to improve education